Michelle Endersby is an outstanding Australian artist who specializes in painting portraits of roses on circular canvases. While viewing these extraordinary light-filled paintings one would never imagine that the source of her inspiration came after Michelle was in a coma. In this inspirational article Michelle shares her compelling experience that took her from terror to elation. Her work was selected for the Manhattan Arts International “Healing Power of ART” 2015 exhibition and I am honored that she is a member of the Healing Power of ART Gallery. ~ Renee Phillips
A severe headache in the back of my head, unlike anything I had known before, told me that something was seriously wrong. I alerted my husband and very soon I was completely paralysed down the left side, no longer able to speak and collapsed semi-conscious on the floor. Thankfully the ambulance came quickly. I was rushed to the hospital where scans revealed that a blood vessel had ruptured in my brain. Emergency brain surgery was required to stop the bleeding and siphon off the pool of blood which was nearing the diameter of a tennis ball. I was in a coma on life support for five days with a breathing tube inserted down my throat.
I knew that I must paint the vision of beauty and hope
that I was seeing and share this vision with the world.
When I awoke I found myself in a very dark place, I could see what seemed to be the dark shapes of tormented souls gathering at the foot of the bed, all of my fears, all of the things that had ever held me back were present and I was filled with horror. And then I was presented with an inspirational vision that inspires me to this day. It was if the walls of the room opened and I found myself in a beautiful light-filled rose garden. I wandered down the pathway and at the end of the path I came across a tiny art gallery with no paintings in it. My spirits soared, and I went from terror to elation, because I was given a direct message of what I must do. I knew that I must paint the vision of beauty and hope that I was seeing and share this vision with the world.
The doctors were amazed at my recovery. It was predicted that I could be in hospital and rehab for months or longer with a possibility of permanent disability, but I was home from the hospital in eleven days. The part of the brain which had been affected was that responsible for visual processing, and along with the potent anti-seizure medication I was required to take initially, there were no guarantees that I would be able to interpret shapes, identify and replicate colour subtleties or ever paint again. But I knew I had been entrusted with an important mission and so my rehabilitation began. I started to paint my roses on circular canvases.
The circle has been a powerful symbol in art throughout history, it has been used in portraiture and represents many things including the cycle of life, eternity and wholeness, and for me personally the round canvases were a symbol of my return to wholeness. Roses are all about circles and spirals and going around the rose painting petal by petal was like a meditation and very therapeutic, and so my new body of work came into being.
My “Awakening Around Roses” collection of paintings was discovered on my website by a gallery in New York and I was invited to show my work on the world stage. To travel to New York from Australia to exhibit my paintings and be part of the international art community was thrilling as I was literally ‘living the dream’ and sharing my vision with the world.
My work has attracted a lot of attention and has had a profound effect on others. The round canvases focus the attention of the viewer and encourages contemplation. Monet remarked that when he used round canvases he found that people would dwell on his works longer.
Many people have commented, on seeing my works, that they have felt inspired to nurture their own creativity in many different ways. I have been transformed by my brush with death, it has been a spiritual awakening for me and I see the world through new eyes. I truly hope that my story and my paintings can inspire an awakening in others and that as a result, their dreams may awaken and flourish like the opening petals of a rose.
Visit Michelle Endersby’s website www.michelleendersbyart.com